We are a team of first and second year engineering students from Engineers without Borders, Bristol. Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a registered charity which works with partner organisations to inspire, mobilise and support people to use science, technology and engineering to alleviate poverty.
This summer we are travelling to Benin, West Africa, to work with an NGO called OAN International using our engineering expertise to tackle their water supply problem. OAN international is a charity with a long term development plan for the city of Nikki in northern Benin. They have asked EWB Bristol water team to jointly develop a solution to their water shortage during the summer months. For the past 2 years the Bristol student team has been working on water supply solutions and the technical design of a rainwater harvesting tank.
We are going to Nikki for 6 weeks to assess the appropriateness of rainwater harvesting as a solution for the community. We will be mapping water flow, assessing use, quality and redundancy, and exploring their cultural attitudes towards water. We will also evaluate previously unsuccessful development initiatives in the region. By building a strong relationship with the local community we hope to better understand their needs with a view to improving our designs and overseeing the building work carried out next summer.
Rainwater harvesting is a very cost effective and simple system if it can be maintained correctly. For that reason, we have developed sanitation and hygiene workshops as well as a tank maintenance program. We plan to train local members with whom we can work to ensure equipment is maintained correctly and independently in future.
The total cost of the project to us is £4000, which includes transport, insurance, safety measures and some contingency. Any additional funds raised will contribute to the costs of materials and local labour, however the majority of this is to be covered by the community itself. This ensures a sense of ownership of the system we build together, so that it is properly used and maintained.
We are committed and passionate about this project and are happy to give more information if you are interested. Any contribution would be of great help to us.
Many thanks from the whole EWB Bristol Branch team.